“Sometimes I just wish I could shut it all off, OFF.” -Hatebreed
Everyone wants to be, faster, stronger, better, next year. We see our results and KNOW we can improve. Athletes come to sports because they are driven, passionate people. This sport is not for the temped. But what happens when all that drive, passion, are motivation works again you? How can you step back, stand down, and do what seems lazy, pathetic, even wrong? That is, can you rest? Take a break. Recharge and reload for the next year? Also if you can do it, how should you do it? Welcome to a place where athletes struggle against themselves. The off season.
The science behind this is simple. To be at your best, you need a rest. Every elite athlete take a break to recovery from the massive output they do at peak times and to ensure they are rested and ready to go when it matters most. Those who don’t end up winter heroes and summer zeros. Refusing to get out of shape they burn out when it matters most; crushing it in the gym in the winter but then crushed themselves when podiums, and glory at races are on the line. So the first step in understanding an off season is to understand why you need one and let go of the obsession to train. Look at this break as part of the season and part of being a good athlete.
If you did an Ultra Beast or raced a lot you should consider taking no less than 3 weeks totally off. You can take up to 6 weeks if you need it. Let your body tell you when you are ready to train again. Remember once the season rolls around you will need to train so this time is the only time you really can do this and thus you don’t want to short change yourself. This period will bring you to he new year fresh, fit and also less likely to get injuries and allow you to heal from any you picked up in the year prior. This time can also be a chance to focus on diet, rest/sleep, family, friends, and all the stuff you neglect during the busy year; for me I tend to have my own ultra of dentists, eye, and other appointments.
Now, get out there and crush your sofa…Football isn’t going to watch itself.